Dr Ingo Titze is one of the world’s leading voice scientists and a singer himself so when he shares a tip on how to best warm up before a performance, we’re all ears.
Dr Titze says it’s crucial to tailor your warm up efforts according to how you’ve been using your voice. In other words: don’t do the same thing every time, because that’s how you always do it – think about how you’ve been using your voice and what it needs.
“A vocal warm up has to be individual and should depend on what your vocal load has been in the previous day or two,” he says.
“This business that you sometimes see with choirs, where everybody does scales or a pitch together, I don’t think that’s a particularly useful warm up because everybody has been using their voice differently.
“If you listen to a symphony orchestra prepare for a performance, there is no platoon warm up – each individual member of the orchestra does what they need to do. In terms of vocal warm up, it’s very individual and should be based on the timeline of how you fatigue and recover your voice.
“If I’ve had a lot of vocal work two or three days earlier, then I know it’s going to take me a lot longer to warm up because I have fatigued my voice and there’s a certain amount of rebuilding that has to take place.”
And in case you’re wondering, yes Dr Titze does practise what he preaches. Here’s how he prepares for singing in church at 8am on a Sunday morning (please note we think a good night’s sleep is best for our voice, but here’s how he does it).
“What I do is I warm up the night before and I sleep a whole lot less. I take maybe three, four, five hours of sleep at the most. I get up at four the morning and I start doing my lip trills and my straw phonation.”
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